Shipleys LLP
Chartered accountants and professional business advisers

Support measures for businesses amidst the Coronavirus

In these rapidly changing times, many businesses need support and help to navigate through the dramatic economic conditions coronavirus has presented.

Updated 4 September

The Shipleys LLP team are closely following all the announcements and papers released by Government Bodies, including the Treasury.  On this page, which is being updated as fresh announcements emerge, you’ll find an overview of the support measures in place for businesses. You can find more information from the Government here.

 

What's new on 21 September 2020 - see the relevant section below:

  • The Government's Kickstart Scheme - the Government has confirmed that employer representatives will receive £300 funding per job placement

  • Grants awarded to retail, hospitality, leisure and those eligible for SBRR or Rural Rate Relief early on in the pandemic - a reminder that these are taxable and should be accounted for in the business annual accounts and tax computation.

  • The Future Fund closes to new applicants onn 30 September.

  • Businesses will need to apply for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme by 30 September 2020 at the latest, but now have until 30 November 2020 to accept an offer from an accredited lender.

  • Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme - From 26 August 2020 employers can claim for employees who have been notified by the NHS to self-isolate before surgery. Since the end of May, they have been able to claim for employees who are self-isolating because they’ve been notified by the NHS or public health bodies that they’ve come into contact with someone with coronavirus.

 

Suppport with wages - the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Government has made changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. See here and here

Background

The Scheme closed to new entrants on 30 June. Employers had until 31 July to make any claims in respect of the period to 30 June. From 1 July, employers could bring furloughed employees back to work for any amount of time and any work pattern, while still being able to claim the grant for the hours not worked. From this date, only employees that employers had successfully claimed a previous grant for were eligible for more grants under the scheme. 

From August 2020, the level of Government grant provided through the Scheme is being slowly tapered to reflect people returning to work. The Scheme will end at the end of October. See the following timescale.

 

Timeline and tapering of relief

June and July 2020: The Government paid 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 as well as employer National Insurance (ER NICS) and pension contributions. Employers were not required to pay anything.

August 2020: The Government paid 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500. Employers paid ER NICs and pension contributions – for the average claim, this represents 5% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.

September 2020: The Government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500. For the average claim, this represents 14% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.

October 2020: The Government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500. For the average claim, this represents 23% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed

For more details and how to claim, see here

 

Job Retention Bonus

In his Summer Statement, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that to encourage employers to support those people who have been furloughed, a Job Retention Bonus will be introduced.

The Job Retention Bonus will provide a one-off payment of £1,000 to UK employers for every previously furloughed employee who remains continuously employed through to the end of January 2021. Employees must earn more than £520 a month on average between the beginning of November and the end of January 2021.

Those who were furloughed and had a claim submitted for them after the 10 June (when the CJRS closed to new entrants), because they were returning from paternal leave or time serving as a military reservist will also be eligible for the bonus as long as they meet the other eligibility criteria

Employers will also be eligible for employee transfers protected under TUPE legislation, provided they have been continuously employed and meet the other eligibility criteria and the new employer has also submitted a CJRS claim for that employee

Payments will be made from February 2021.

More details have now been released about the Scheme.  See here and here

 

Job creation grants

On 8 July, the Chancellor's Summer Statement included a number of grants designed to encourage job creation and protection - particularly for young people.

 

Kickstart Scheme

The Kickstart Scheme aims to provide “hundreds of thousands of high quality six-month work placements” for those aged 16-24, who are on Universal Credit and are considered to be at risk of long-term unemployment.  Government funding for each job will cover 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week plus the associated employer NICs and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions (a maximum of about £6,500). There is to be no cap on the cost of the scheme.  See more information here.

There is also £1,500 per job placement available for setup costs, support and training.

Funding is available following a successful application process. Applications must be for a minimum of 30 job placements. If you are unable to offer this many job placements, you can partner with other organisations to reach the minimum number. Some organisations like Chambers of Commerces are helping small businesses partner up to utilise the scheme. There are also regional contacts to help employers with the kickstart scheme process - see here.

If you are a representative applying on behalf of a group of employers, you can get £300 of funding per job placement to support with the associated administrative costs of bringing together these employers. For more information, see here.

Information about applying for the grant can be found here.

 

Traineeships

Employers who provide work experience for 16-24-year-olds in work placements and training will receive a payment of £1,000 per trainee. Provision of traineeships and eligibility for them will be extended to those with Level 3 qualifications and below, to ensure that more young people have access to training.  Detail regarding the grant has yet to be published.  For more information see here.

 

Payments for employers who hire new apprentices

Employers in England will receive a new payment of £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire aged under 25, and a £1,500 payment for each new apprentice they hire aged 25 and over.

The scheme will run from 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021. These payments will be made in addition to the existing £1,000 payment the Government already provides for new 16-18-year-old apprentices, and any of those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan. More detail about the Scheme is expected from the Government. In the meantime, see here.

 

Business Rates and Grants

All retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will be exempt from paying business rates for 12 months in a bid to combat the financial damage caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Government has been giving £25,000 grants to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000.  Local Authorities in England have written to those are eligible.  For more information, see here.

Through the Small Business Grant Fund the Government provided a one-off grant of £10,000 to around 700,000 business currently eligible for SBRR or Rural Rate Relief, to help meet their ongoing business costs. Local Authorities in England have written to those who are eligble. For more information see here.

Note: The Government has announced that it will close the Small Business and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure grants schemes on 28 August.  Eligible businesses must apply by 5pm on 28 August to their Local Authority or will no longer be able to claim the grant.

In England, eligible charities and community amateur sports clubs may apply for relief of up to 80%.  Also ratepayers experiencing financial difficulties may apply to their local authority for hardship relief which may grant a discount or exemption to the ratepayer at their discretion.

In England, nurseries do not have to pay business rates for the 2020-21 tax year.  See here

You can find a full list of exemptions, and types of relief for:

 

Regional grants

New grants of between £1,000 - £5,000 will be made available to help small and medium sized businesses access new technology and other equipment as well as professional, legal, financial or other advice.

The support will be fully funded by the Government with no obligation for businesses to contribute financially.  The funding has been allocated to Growth Hubs within each Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area to distribution. For more information see here

 

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme was announced in the March Budget as part of a package of support measures for businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Employers who are eligible will be able to make their claims through a new online service. Accountants and tax agents will also be able to make claims on behalf of employers.  See here.

This scheme will allow small and medium-sized employers, with fewer than 250 employees, to apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying coronavirus-related SSP. Connected companies and charities can also use the scheme if their total combined number of PAYE employees was fewer than 250 on the 28 February 2020. View the eligibility criteria here.

Employers who qualify will receive repayments at the relevant rate of SSP that they have paid to current or former employees for eligible periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020.

HMRC has released details of what to have ready to make the claim and the records employers must keep.  You can view it here.

By way of a short overview, The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will repay employers the current rate of SSP that they pay to current or former employees for periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020. If you’re an employer who pays more than the current rate of SSP you can only claim the current rate amount.

The repayment will cover up to 2 weeks starting from the first day of sickness, if an employee is unable to work because they either:

  • have coronavirus
  • cannot work because they are self-isolating at home
  • are shielding because they’ve been advised that they’re at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus
  • who are self-isolating because they’ve been notified by the NHS or public health bodies that they’ve come into contact with someone with coronavirus

Employees do not have to give you a doctor’s fit note for you to make a claim

From 26 August, employers can use this scheme to claim for employees who have been notified by the NHS to self-isolate before surgery. Since the end of May, they have also been able claim for employees who are self-isolating because they’ve been notified by the NHS or public health bodies that they’ve come into contact with someone with coronavirus.

Those who are not eligible for SSP, for example the self-employed or people earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week, can now more easily make a claim for Universal Credit or Contributory Employment and Support Allowance. See more information here

 

Business Interruption Loans

Loan support for businesses is being delivered through four routes:

  • Business Bounce Back Loan Scheme - Small businesses can borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. The loans will be interest free for the first 12 months. See more information here.
  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) for small to medium sized businesses, the Government provides loans of up to £5m per business with no interest for 12 months. The British Business Bank has more details of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) along with answers to frequently asked questions. View it here.
  • Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) for larger businesses provides a Government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £200m. See here and here
  • The Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) for large firms - the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies. This will support a company if it has been affected by a short-term funding squeeze, and allow it to finance its short-term liabilities. It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms.  View more information here.

 

Some of the Government's Coronavirus Loans and Finance Schemes are due to close to new applications in the Autumn. The first being the Future Fund which closes on 30 September 2020, then Bounce Back Loans on 4 November 2020. Businesses will need to apply for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) by 30 September 2020 at the latest, but have until 30 November 2020 to accept an offer from an accredited lender. Offers to sell Commercial Paper to the Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) Fund must be received and accepted by 31 December 2020.

 

Eligibility Criteria for the Business Bounce Back Loan Scheme

This loan scheme is designed to help small and medium-sized businesses borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. The Government will guarantee 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months.

Loan terms will be up to 6 years and no repayments will be due during the first 12 months. The Government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan. It is envisaged the scheme will be delivered through a network of accredited lenders - more information will be published shortly by the Government

You can apply for a loan if your business:

  • is based in the UK
  • has been negatively affected by coronavirus
  • was not an ‘undertaking in difficulty’ on 31 December 2019
  • is not in bankruptcy, liquidation or undergoing debt restructuring

You are not eligible to apply if your business:

  • is a bank, insurer or reinsurer (but not an insurance broker)
  • a public-sector body
  • a further-education establishment, if you are grant-funded
  • a state-funded primary or secondary school
  • if you have secured funding from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme - however, If you’ve already received a loan of up to £50,000 under the CBILS and would like to transfer it into the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, you can arrange this with your lender until 4 November 2020.

Find out more information about the Bounce Back Loan Scheme here and here

Note: the Business Bounce Back Loan Scheme is due to close to new applicants on 4 November 2020

 

Eligibility Criteria for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

Details of the loan assistance can be viewed here and the lenders who are signed up for the Scheme can be viewed here. The British Business Bank has published this eligibility check for SMEs to complete ahead of contacting one of the lenders. View it here.

In summary, to be eligible for a facility under CBILS, a small business (SME) must:

  • Be UK-based in its business activity
  • Have an annual turnover of no more than £45 million
  • Have a borrowing proposal which the lender would consider viable, were it not for the current pandemic
  • Self-certify that it has been adversely impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Importantly, access to the Scheme has now been opened up to smaller businesses facing cashflow difficulties who previously would not have been eligible for CBILS because they met the requirements for a standard commercial facility. Businesses are encouraged to re-contact their lenders if they have previously been unsuccessful in securing funding.

With the CBILS and in response to feedback since the Scheme’s launch, from 3 April the Government is also stopping lenders from requesting personal guarantees for loans under £250,000 and making operational changes to speed up lending approvals. 

Businesses will need to apply for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) by 30 September 2020 at the latest, but have until 30 November 2020 to accept an offer from an accredited lender.

 

Eligibility Criteria for the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS)

The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) provides a Government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of 25% of a company's annual turnover up to a maximum of £200million.

The CLBILS is being offered through a list of accredited lenders listed on the British Business Bank website. Facilities backed by a guarantee under CLBILS are offered at commercial rates of interest.The Government will provide lenders with an 80% guarantee on individual loans for businesses that would be otherwise unable to access the finance they need. 

The elibility criteria is as follows:

  • the business must be based in the UK
  • the business has an annual turnover of over £45 million
  • the business has not received a facility under the Bank of England’s COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility (see below)

A business will also need to demonstrate:

  • it would be viable were it not for the pandemic
  • it has been affected by coronavirus
  • the loan will enable it to trade out of any short-term to medium-term difficulty resulting from coronavirus

Note:

  1. If you’re borrowing more than £50 million you must agree to restrictions on dividend payments, senior pay and share buy-backs during the period of the loan. Check the eligibility requirements.
  2. Lenders will need further information to confirm eligibility. All lending decisions remain fully delegated to the accredited lenders.

Businesses from any sector can apply, except for the following:

  • banks and building societies
  • insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers)
  • public-sector organisations, including state-funded primary and secondary schools. Note since 4 May 2020 further education establishments are eligible for the scheme.

For more information and to apply, see here.

 

Eligibility for the Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF)

For larger businesses, details of the eligibility criteria for the Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) can be found here

The Scheme is due to close to new applications on 30 September 2020.

 

The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme

Applications for the second and final grant open on 17 August. You can claim for the grant even if you did not make a claim for the first grant. Note: the online service for the second and final grant will be available from 17 August.

If you’re eligible the second and final grant will be a taxable grant worth 70% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering a further 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total. Find out more here.

The grant is subject to income tax and National Insurance contributions but does not need to be repaid. 

Find out more about the SEISS here

 

Eligibility criteria for the Scheme:

The scheme is open to a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership if they:

  • have traded in the tax year 2018 to 2019 and submitted their Self Assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020 for that year
  • have traded in the tax year 2019 to 2020
  • intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021
  • carry on a trade which has been adversely affected by coronavirus

Examples of how a business could have been 'adversely affected by coronavirus' can be found here.

 

The process to expect

HMRC have released details of how much a self-employed individual might expect to receive through the SEISS grant.  Details can be found here They have also explained how they calculate trading profits and non-trading income for the Scheme - see here

1. Check eligibility via HMRC's online tool

The self-employed should use HMRC's online tool to confirm eligibility and will need the following to do so:

2. When eligibility is confirmed

If eliigibility is confirmed via the online tool, HMRC  will confirm the date the applicant will be able to make their claim from, and ask them to add their contact details.  The applicant can claim straightaway but will also need to have the following to hand:

  • Government Gateway user ID and password - if you do not have a user ID, you can create one when you check your eligibility online
  • Bank account number, sort code, name on the account you want HMRC to pay the grant into (only provide bank account details where a Bacs payment can be accepted)
  • Your address linked to your bank account

3. Make the claim

Note: a self-employed person's accountant, tax agent or adviser cannot make the claim on their behalf. A self-employed person must make the claim themself. Do get in touch with your Shipleys contact for advice ahead of making the submission.

The online service for the second and final grant opens on 17 August.

 

4. Once you have submitted your claim

HMRC will check your claim and pay your grant into your bank account in the next 6 working days. They will send an email when your payment is on its way and you can track the status of your payment.  See here

 

If people have only just started out as a self-employed person and haven’t completed a tax return yet, they will not be able to benefit from the Scheme and are directed to make use of the new welfare arrangements, such as Universal Credit.

 

Support for Charities

In addition to the Charity Commission Guidance released in March, the Government announced in April a fresh set of measures to help charities facing financial difficulties as a result of the Coronavirus situation.  On 17 April it also released information regarding processing ticket refunds for cancelled charity events during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.You can find an overview of all the current support measures for Charities in our Charity Update page here.

 

Support for the Hospitality Sector

The ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme will be introduced to encourage people to return to eating out. Every diner will be entitled to a 50% discount of up to £10 a head on their meal, at any participating restaurant, café, pub or other eligible food service establishment.

The discount can be used without limit throughout the UK on any eat-in meal (including non-alcoholic drinks but excluding alcohol). It will be valid Monday to Wednesday during the month of August, and participating establishments will be fully reimbursed for the 50% discount. Participating establishments can find out how to register here.

See also the reduced temporary VAT rate introduced for the sector (see the VAT section below)

 

Support for Exporters

The Government has released guidance for UK businesses trading internationally.  See more here

In particular, financial support is available through UK Export Finance (UKEF).  This organisation works with banks and insurance brokers to help companies of all sizes fulfil and get paid for export contracts. It provides guarantees, loans and insurance on behalf of the Government that can protect UK exporters facing delayed payments or transit restrictions.

Help from UKEF includes:

  • Disruption due to late payments - UKEF can help businesses ease cash flow constraints by guaranteeing bank loans through its Export Working Capital Scheme
  • Concerns about getting paid - UKEF offers an export insurance policy that can help you recover the costs of fulfilling an order that is terminated by events outside your control
  • Raising finance - UKEF can also support finance for overseas buyers through the Direct Lending Facility Scheme, so they can continue to buy your goods and services
  • Exporting to China - UKEF has over £4 billion of capacity to support UK firms exporting to China, as well as significant capacity across other markets affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) to help cover these risks.

To find out if UKEF covers your region, email customer.service@ukexportfinance.gov.uk

 

Support for high growth and SME businesses focusing on research and development

On 20 April the Chancellor announced a £1.25billion support package for high growth companies and other businesses driving innovation during the COVID-19 crisis. The package includes a new £500 million loan scheme for high-growth firms - the Future Fund - and £750 million of targeted support for small and medium sized businesses focusing on research and development.  For more information see here.

 

The Future Fund

The £500 million Future Fund is delivered in partnership with the British Business Bank. It provides UK-based companies with between £125,000 and £5 million from the Government, with private investors at least matching the Government commitment. The loans automatically convert into equity on the company’s next qualifying funding round, or at the end of the loan if they are not repaid.  Find out more here.

On the 30 June 2020 the Government announced that more firms could now benefit from the Future Fund. In particular companies which have participated in accelerator programmes are now eligible for scheme - see here.

Note: The Future Fund will close to applications on 30 September 2020.

 

Sustainable Innovation Fund

On 27 June the Government announced a new Sustainable Innovation Fund. This £200m fund from the Government is open to companies across the UK who need urgent financial support to keep their cutting-edge projects and ideas alive. See here.

This funding, delivered through Innovate UK, forms part of the wider £750 million package of grants and loans announced in April to support innovative firms. It sits alongside the £500 million Future Fund (see above). Businesses can apply for support through the Sustainable Innovation Fund by visiting the Innovate UK website from Monday 29 June.  See here.

 

Targeted support for innovative small and medium-sized businesses via Innovate UK

The £750 million of targeted support for the most R&D intensive small and medium size firms is now available through Innovate UK’s grants and loan scheme.  Innovate UK, the national innovation agency, is accelerating up to £200 million of grant and loan payments for its 2,500 existing customers on an opt-in basis. Find out more here.

 

Time to pay arrangement for outstanding tax liabilities

HMRC has a set up a phone helpline to support businesses and self-employed people concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to coronavirus. SME businesses have now started getting support to delay payment of their VAT and PAYE liabilities.

For those who are unable to pay due to coronavirus, HMRC will discuss your specific circumstances to explore:

  • agreeing an instalment arrangement
  • suspending debt collection proceedings
  • cancelling penalties and interest where you have administrative difficulties contacting or
  • paying HMRC immediately

The helpline number is 0800 0159 559 - and is an addition to other HMRC phone contact numbers. The helpline is open from Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, and Saturday 8am to 4pm (excluding bank holidays).

 

What to have to hand before you call HMRC

Businesses are strongly advised to be prepared for the conversation with HMRC and have the following key information to hand:

  • Description of the business
  • Annual total liability to tax
  • Amounts requesting to be deferred
  • Proposed period of deferral
  • Reasons for requesting deferral (directly linked to COVID-19)
  • Details of discussions with other stakeholders / lenders
  • Details of other actions taken to mitigate cash outflows
  • A short-term cashflow forecast
  • Authority to confirm directors will ensure all instalment payments will be met

 

VAT 

The last quarter's VAT payments were permitted to be deferred and no businesses had to pay any VAT from 20 March till 30 June 2020. The deferral period has now ended. Businesses have until the end of the financial year 2020/21 to pay those bills. Find out what you need to do now the deferral period has ended.  See here.

The VAT Payments on Account Scheme works on an estimation of historic figures.  Given the Coronavirus crisis, businesses may find their true liability has currently reduced.  We have written an overview on the options to businesses faced with this situation. See here.

Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.

A reduced 5% VAT rate will apply to supplies of food and non-alcoholic drinks from restaurants, pubs, bars, cafés and similar premises across the UK. This temporary rate will apply from 15 July 2020 to 12 January 2021. For more information see here.

The 5% rate of VAT will also apply from 15 July 2020 to 12 January 2021 to supplies of accommodation and admission to attractions across the UK. For more information see here.

 

Making Tax Digital for VAT

Businesses with VAT periods ending after 31 March 2020 were due to have ensured their digital links were Making Tax Digital (MTD)-friendly, however, HMRC has just extended the deadline.

In response to the impact of COVID-19, it has announced it is providing all MTD businesses with more time to put in place digital links between all parts of their functional compatible software. This means that all businesses now have until their first VAT return period starting on or after 1 April 2021 to put digital links in place.

So any accounting-related software (for example a hotel booking system that produces invoices to a customer) must have working digital links to the business accounting system by then.

 

Self-Assessment Payments 

The next Self-Assessment payments which are due on the 31 July 2020 are now deferred until 31 January 2021.  This measure applies to anyone who is due to pay their second Self-Assessment payment on account on 31 July 2020.  You can read more here.

You can still make the payment by 31 July 2020 as normal if you’re able to do so. 

If you choose to defer, HMRC will not charge interest or penalties on any amount of the deferred payment on account, provided it’s paid on or before 31 January 2021. You do not need to tell HMRC that you’re deferring your payment on account.

If you want to pay in instalments you should contact HMRC if you already have overdue tax which you’re paying through a Time to Pay instalment arrangement and want to include your second payment on account in that arrangement.

If you choose to defer, and normally make your payments on account by Direct Debit, you should cancel your Direct Debit through your bank as soon as possible so that HMRC will not automatically collect any payment due. You can cancel online if you’re registered for online banking.

 

Companies House

From 25 March the Government announced businesses would have an additional 3 months to file accounts with Companies House, to help companies avoid penalties as they dealt with the impact of COVID-19. 

On 25 June 2020, the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 received royal assent. The measures introduced by the Act (with effect from the 26 and 27 June)  are designed to relieve the burden on businesses during the coronavirus outbreak and allow them to focus all their efforts on continuing to operate. Companies and other types of business registered at Companies House will get more time to file accounts. Companies House is in the process of updating all deadlines on its service.

Companies House has indicated they will update companies' filing deadlines automatically and companies do not need to apply for an extension. See here and here.

The Government has also said it is in close consultation with company representative bodies, legal practitioners and others, to look at solutions for the impact COVID-19 may have on companies’ ability to hold Annual General Meetings. Updated guidance on this matter will be published in due course.

 

IR35 changes delayed

The forthcoming changes regarding off payroll work (IR35) have fortunately been delayed. On 17 March 2020 the Chief Treasury Secretary Steve Barclay announced that the IR35 tax reforms would be pushed back by one year. The changes were due to come in from 6 April 2020. See here.

 

Things to consider:

Your insurance policies

The Government has stated that it considers that its current statements are sufficient to bring interruption to business policies into effect and require insurance companies to make good on those policies. Do though check with your insurance provider.

 

Employment considerations

The priority for most employers will no doubt to be to retain staff if they can. Please refer to the Government proposed support for wages above. In the meantime, and in your discussions with staff, it is sensible to be as open and transparent as possible about the situation the business is in, the measures you are taking to enable it to survive and what you are asking of them.  There is some information from the Government here  and here

We will add more information as the Government publishes further details.

 

Contracts

If you have contracts in place for the supply of goods or services it is important to check if there are clauses to cover you for force majeure. This relates to what happens if something stops or delays you or someone else performing the contract due to factors outside your or their control. Check the wording of those clauses to be clear if it covers you for the pandemic and what is or isn’t covered in terms of disruption.  Get legal advice is necessary and if you need introductions to legal contacts, please let us know.

 

Other financing measures

In addition to the Government support, other lenders are initiating financing options to help businesses in areas such as spreading the cost of equipment purchases, short-term loans, finance against unpaid loans etc.  Talk to one of our team for introductions.

 

Summary and can we help?

We will continue to monitor the announcements from the Government and update this page as new guidance and legislation emerges.  In the meantime, please do get in touch with your usual Shipleys’ contact if you need any further advice or call one of our offices.

London: +44 (0)20 7312 0000  or email advice@shipleys.com

Godalming: +44 (0)1483 423607 or email godalming@shipleys.com

 

Specific advice should be obtained before taking action, or refraining from taking action, in relation to this summary, if you would like advice or further information, please speak to your usual Shipleys contact.

Copyright © Shipleys LLP 2020

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